A few months ago, we shipped Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 with Stage3D support, since we shipped we have seen great response from the developers and amazing content being developed. From Zombie Tycoon, the first Stage3D game available online, we have seen tanks and zombies destroying cities, cars doing rallys, Ben Franklin fighting the Dead Coats. Beyond games, we’ve also seen an amazing car configurator for Nissan, and tons of creative experimentations like the Evo Particles Engine. More recently, the famous birds have also been migrated to Stage3D. So far, we have been talking with a lot of companies actually developing Stage3D content, leveraging Flash Player’s penetration, and by the end of 2011, we anticipated that over 80% had Flash Player 11 installed.
How they’re doing it is they’re developing their games for Stage3D software fallback. And then they’re using progressive enhancement to add more complex models, textures, particle effects, etc. when they detect HW-accelerated Stage3D is available. With this kind of progressive experience, you can use Stage3D to deliver the best experience to the most users (even with only software fallback) and provide the best experience for users with hardware acceleration. In addition, we’re working with framework vendors to improve performance of frameworks built on Stage3D, which benefits all Stage3D users. There are a lot of optimizations that can be done on these layers above Stage3D. For example, the latest build of the open source Starling
2D GPU framework is 400% faster than it was just a few weeks ago. You guys can take advantage of these performance enhancements immediately, without waiting for a new release of Flash Player and AIR. Recently, Ville Koskela from Rovio, shared
his excitement regarding Starling and its performance boost.
Today, over 50% of users with Flash Player 11 will enjoy full hardware acceleration for Stage3D content. This is based on actual site visit data and data we have collected from partners which also corroborates our penetration models based on data we have directly from OS vendors.
But there has been a lot of discussions regarding Stage3D hardware support and the reach that Stage3D gives you today when it comes to hardware acceleration. The current Flash Player available today (11.1 – shipped in November 2011) still uses a conservative gating model to ensure best stability. We took that decision when we saw how bad some drivers could be, with some horrible inconsistencies, some could basically reboot your computer when browsing a website. We just cannot allow that. If you want more details about the drivers and chipsets we do not support, you can check this technote
.I want you guys to know that we are actively making changes to Flash Player and AIR to enable HW-acceleration for always more people. Specifically, with each release we are working with graphics card partners to test and identify compatible older drivers that are currently blacklisted. Upcoming quarterly releases of Flash Player will relax the blacklisting, we are lowering the restriction from drivers older than 1/1/2009 to 1/1/2008 with Flash Player 11.2 that we are about to release in the next months.The Flash Player 11.2/AIR 3.2 beta4 we are making available today
introduces this change, you should check it out. This release does not have any changes from the previous betas related to Alchemy. However, as we’ve mentioned, we are working on a solution to address some of the concerns from the Flash community and will have more to share soon.
We also want to be more aggressive and lower this even more with the next release depending on the feedback you guys will provide during the public beta.
Note that Flash Player 11.2 ships with silent auto update on Windows, meaning that future versions adoption will happen even faster. Mac support for silent auto-update will be introduced in the next release. On a side note, we are already seeing games running at 60fps on the upcoming version of AIR for mobile with Stage3D support, we are excited to share more about this very soon! 😉